Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 20, 2020 is:
dauntless • DAWNT-lus • adjective
With dauntless persistence, the ship’s crew navigated the vessel through the unexpected storm, escaping with minimal damage and no casualties.
“Dug, as dauntless as ever, travels to the stronghold of his foes. The entrance is shielded by one gate after another, each shunting into position with a mighty clang, and finally, in the movie’s best gag, by a little sliding bolt, such as you might find on a garden shed.” — Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2018
Did you know?
The history of the world is peopled with dauntless men and women who refused to be “subdued” or “tamed” by fear. The word dauntless can be traced back to Latin domare, meaning “to tame” or “to subdue.” When our verb daunt (a domare descendant adopted by way of Anglo-French) was first used in the 14th century, it shared these meanings. The now-obsolete “tame” sense referred to the taming or breaking of wild animals, particularly horses: an undaunted horse was an unbroken horse. Not until the late 16th century did we use undaunted with the meaning “undiscouraged and courageously resolute” to describe people. By then, such lionhearted souls could also be described as “undauntable” as well as “dauntless.”